Wednesday, March 7, 2012

As the saying goes... what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. It was not a nice one to take on the chin when they announced the cancellation of my first ironman race. It was a messy couple of days, there were a few hundred others racing for the first time. And a particular one racing for the last time. A guy who raced every IMNZ race since the beginning.
And it didn’t happen.

But there was the Half the next day, and a race is a race and you have to race it. ‘Nuff said that I was there but my heart was probably pounding somewhere else. In hindsight I should have taken the race waaaay more seriously than I did. Anyway, here’s the report.

Swim: 32:10

Not a flash swim. Got a good start and then started getting a fair bit of traffic to get through, above, aside and over. Slower guys that killed the first 400m and then settled into a snail pace. All in all I batlled through and cruised with a group of about 10 guys from the 1km marker. I got lost at the last turn and swam the last 200m very wide.
A good mate gave an inspiring yell as I got out of the water: “Nice level 1 Swim, mate!”
I swallowed a bit of pride and continued on.
Transition 1: 6:54

We have to run 1km from the lake to the tent, get our things from the bag and move to the bike and leave. It is a minimum of 4 and a half minutes. But it was cold in Taupo, so I went for leg warmers, bike top and wind jacket. I also had my pump in the bag and don’t remember what else. But I know it was a long transition. I did not prep the transition well enough. Even for IM it would have been a bit long

Bike: 2:30:00

The bike course is rolling to start with, then is flat and tailwind and the end is a bit harder with a headwind and a couple of hills to negotiate. I had a troublesome first 10min and then settled into a good pace. In that window of time two guys from the squad passed me. One of them I would catch up later, the other was cougth by the draft busters.
Speaking of drafting: there’s very little to do when you have about 1000 people in a stretch of road of 45km. In the best of circumstances it would allow for 45metres between each one of us. In a more realistic case, and provided that we all leave the swim with a 1sec split you’ll have about 3 or 4m between people. Throw in a mix of abilities and motivations and you have a real hard race to police, self police and penalize. I was part of a 12, 15 strong group after the 10km mark. I did my bit to get away from them and I failed. I did my bit to stay at a respectable distance and many around me did. I did commit to start passing people when they got too comfortable for me. All in all it was a group that would have pedalled the same time as I would in the longer race (5:30:00) though we’ve been more spread out from the swim start.
Anyway, I must say I drafted at times and at times I carried a few on my slipstream. Only when we hit the last 10km and hills and headwind things got really in order.
By then the damage was done.
My nutrition was as planned, although it didn’t work as I had a stomach cramp from halfway on the bike until the end of the run. The plan was: one gel every 30min, 1/3 protein bar every 30min, water, bananas.

The run: 1:33:00
When I said the damage was done I am speaking about myself. I had gone harder than I planned on the bike. But it was intentional, to see how tired I can get and how bad it would be to have stomach cramp and run a decent half marathon.
My heart was not in the race and you can tell by the body language and the wardrobe malcfuntion : )
I went through the motions and finished, getting better by each 5km split, but not too good to avoid getting chicked and bet by a few that I would usually leave behind on other races.

The balance:
It was a bad race, no one else than me to blame for it. On the bright side, I now know what it feels to be doing the race from a pretty dark place. It can only be better from now on, so looking forward to a few more half IM’s and the big race on March 2 2013.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

IMNZ 70.3 on tomorrow

It's gonna be cold, a bit windy and pretty cozy with over 1000 of us on the road. 
But, hey!, it's a race and races are always fun. Stay tuned for the race report and great photos from Nat.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Closed until further notice

Last training session

It's a bit cold in the lake, but we managed to have some fun

Then it was off into the speed machine, winds are not a problem for the deep rims. We finished up with a quick run on the lakeside. Now I'm off to leave the bike at transition, buy a new bottle holder, a couple of warm layers and back to rest. Stay tuned for forecasts (both weather and my race performance)

Thursday, March 1, 2012


There's only one more hour of training to go. Tomorrow (Friday) we'll be getting together with a few Ironrookies and doing a 20-20-20 of each discipline.
We got to Taupo at midday today, just in time for a nice meal @ Body Fuel, a coffee shop popular among visitors and full of triathletes at the time of our stop. 
I made sure I packed everything, Including my wife
The town is buzzing big time.
For those who don't know it. Taupo is a 20.000 people town next to the biggest lake in the middle of NZ's north island. Major holiday spot and very well served.
Anyway, got registration out of the way, visited the expo to spot some bargains and went to our rental to set up and put the feet up.
I am as ready as I can be. There's a few things that are likely to happen
Leaving home with a happy face
Wind - Rain (not showers, rain) - Cold (low 10's C). I have trained in worst than that. Rotorua half was a cold race and I got the best bike split in an half iroman. I am as ready as I will ever be.

A bit more to come later today or tomorrow morning (incl. some photos)
The view from our living room